ANDERSON — Four wrestlers from four different local schools all took home individual state titles Saturday night at the 2014 State Wrestling Championships at the Anderson Civic Center.
The two day tournament saw state champions from Fort Mill, Indian Land, Chester and Rock Hill high schools crowned.
Chester brought just two wrestlers but made the most of it: Both 170-pound senior Meleke Stewart and 220-pound junior Temaris Dixon made the finals in the 3A tournament.
Dixon finished second, while Stewart won his title, becoming the first back-to-back state champion at Chester. Stewart missed most of the season because of a blood clot in his knee.
He not only won a state title, but he also finished the season undefeated at 20-0 after missing the first half of the season. He got the all-clear to start wrestling in January.
“Coach said everybody will be hunting for you,” Stewart said. “No matter what, I had to put in the hard work.”
Fort Mill, in 4A, and Indian Land, in 2A, each had three wrestlers make it to the state championship match in their respective weight classes.
Yellow Jackets’ senior Eddie Byrams finished his high school career by beating Byrnes’ Alex Spencer 4-2 to win a state title at 120 pounds in the 4A classification.
“He has been around forever,” said Fort Mill head coach Chris Brock. “He works and works and works, and it paid off.”
Byrams was ecstatic after his match.
“Everything hurts, but I feel great,” he said.
The Yellow Jackets brought five wrestlers to the tournament, with one getting bumped into the consolation bracket after Day One. Freshman AJ Leitten and junior Jake Strong each finished second, falling in the finals of their weight classes. Senior BJ Hurst finished third for Fort Mill at 195 pounds.
Indian Land brought the largest number of local wrestlers, with six in the tournament. Three of those wrestlers lost in the first round, while the other three advanced through their brackets into the finals.
“They have been wrestling sound and not making a lot of mistakes,” Warriors’ head coach Rondale Truesdale said. “I am always pushing them to do better.”
Indian Land crowned a state champion at 120 pounds with sophomore Dalen Byerley getting a technical fall victory 19-4 over Aynor’s Landon Lawson. Indian Land senior Devin Curtsinger, at 145 pounds, and senior Eric Komorous, at 182 pounds, both finished second. Junior David Ovecka, at 170 pounds, finished fourth.
Byerley took third last year and said he was going to make sure that didn’t happen this year.
“It pushed me to work harder,” Byerley said. “I had to go even harder. I didn’t want to regret anything this year.”
Rock Hill also brought a handful of wrestlers with five, but struggled on Day One of the tournament as four of them lost in the first round, leaving just senior Cameron Bell with a shot at a state title.
Bell made the most of his shot, winning the 4A state title at 220 pounds.
“I have worked hard all season, so I had to come in here and get it,” Bell said.
The Bearcats’ heavyweight Travis Strait finished third. Head coach Cain Beard said despite the first-day hiccups, he is OK with how things went. Bell was Rock Hill’s first individual state title since 2011.
“Out of five wrestlers, four won matches, and two placed,” he said. “In recent years, we have had several kids in the state finals, but just haven’t been able to get the job done.”
South Pointe senior Mike Miller got to the finals at 132 pounds at the 4A classification, but lost to Lexington’s Andrew Szalwinski, 5-2.
The only other local placers were Clover junior Zach Conrad at 220 pounds, who finished third in 4A, and Lancaster senior Quinshon Evans, who finished fourth at 182 pounds.
4A-2A Individual State wrestling championships
WINNERS AND LOCAL PLACERS
Key: Aynor (A), Ashley Ridge (AR), Beaufort (Bea.), Byrnes (B), Brookland-Cayce (BC), Berea (Ber.), Burke (Bur.), Clover (C), Cane Bay (CB), Chester (Ches.), Dutch Fork (DF), Eau Claire (EC), Fort Dorchester (FD), Fort Mill (FM), Gaffney (G), Goose Creek (GC), Hillcrest (H), Hartsville (Har.), Indian Land (IL), Marion (M), Lexington (L), Lancaster (Lan.), Laurens (Lau.), Lake City (LC), Lugoff-Elgin (LE), Liberty (Lib.), Loris (Lor.), Rock Hill (RH), Summerville (S), South Pointe (SP), Stall (Sta.), St. James (St.J), Stratford (Str.), Sumter (Sum.), Timberland (Tim.), Wando (W), Waccamaw (Wac.), Walhalla (Wal.), White Knoll (WK)
106: 1. James Sass (S), 2. AJ Leitten (FM), 3. Aaron Burton (DF), 4. Allen Moran (GC)
113: 1 Zack Clary (G)
120: 1. Eddie Byrams (FM), 2. Alex Spencer (B), 3. Austin Chandler (G), 4. Tyre Wright (FD)
126: 1. Jackson Myers (L), 2. Jake Strong (FM), 3. Chris Jackson (LE), 4. Tyler Fachko (S)
132: 1. Andrew Szalwinski (L), 2. Mike Miller (SP), 3. Josh Davis (DF), 4. Ben Crutchfield (W)
138: 1. Austin Palmer (WK)
145: 1.Daniel Smith (S)
152: 1. John Van Slooten (S)
160: 1. Chad Wood (S)
170: 1. Anthony Collins (S)
182: 1. TJ Deveaux (Str), 2. Daniel Bannister (L), 3. Ryan Hughes (Lau), 4. Quinshon Evans (Lan.)
195: 1. Matt Rudy (CB), 2. Landon Sayegh (H), 3. BJ Hurst (FM), 4. Andrew Carnes (L)
220: 1. Cameron Bell (RH), 2. Kentrell Seabrook (Bea.), 3. Zach Conrad (C), 4. Julian Gibbs (S)
Hwt: 1. Patton Gossett (WK), 2. Nathan O’ Conner (Sum.), 3. Travis Strait (RH), 4. Kenny Glover (AR)
170: 1. Meleke Stewart (Ches.), 2. Zach Sanders (St.J), 3. Zorrie Green (Sta.), 4. Javius Lighty (Har.)
220: 1.Davis Nix (Wal.), 2. Temaris Dixon (Ches.), 3. Cory Jump (BC), 4. Dillon Whitlock (Ber.)
120: 1. Dalen Byerley (IL), 2. Landon Larson (A), 3. Tristan Oglesby (Lib.), 4. Bobby Walters (Wac.)
145: 1. Kevin Grant (M), 2. Devin Curtsinger (IL), 3. Shea Burke (Wac.), 4. Santarion Frasier (Bur.)
170: 1. Bernard Harmon (Tim.), 2. Steven Welch (Lor.), 3. Daquan Smith (A), 4. David Ovecka (IL)
182: 1. Tanner Chambers (Lib.), 2. Eric Komorous (IL), 3. Damien Wells (LC), 4. Kareen Jones (EC)